Having an evening routine sounds like something that is not fun at all, right? After all, for most people, the evening is sacred after a hard day of work. But having an evening routine with some (repetitive) actions will have a positive impact on tomorrow. Let’s take a look at 10 actions you can implement into your evening routine.
1. Work on your personal goals
I like to work on my personal goals in the early morning, in solitude. But working on your goals in the evening can also be a great method to put more hours in. My tip would be to stick to the same time-slot each day. Block a certain time in the evening where you will be focusing on your goals and repeat that every single day. You can, for example, make it a habit to work on your personal goals the first hour after you got home. That way, you can enjoy some well-earned relaxation the remainder of the evening.
The best way to go about this, is to create a plan on what goals you will work on and which actions you need to execute. In part 8 and 9 of this blog post I will write more about that.
2. Take your time to cook
Take your time to cook a healthy, delicious meal. I used to rush cooking and eating. Looking back at it, it actually stressed me out. It stressed me out that I was losing time on cooking and eating. Ridiculous. Cooking and eating a healthy, delicious meal can be really relaxing and meditative. Try it.
Besides that, you can also cook in bigger proportions and freeze it in or use it as a ‘meal prep’ for the next day. It will save you time and money. Because cooking in bulk is usually cheaper.
3. Use the time to stay in touch with people
Use the time to stay in touch with people. If you are waking up early, working long days and then also try to optimize your evenings, your social life might suffer if you do not keep it in check. Use the evening to catch up with your family and friends.
4. Take a cold shower
The British Journal of Sports Magazine did a meta-analysis on existing cold-water immersion research. Cold showers have many positive effects on the human body and mind. These effects include:
- Reduced stress levels
- Higher level of alertness
- Increased weight loss
- Higher blood pressure
- Elevated respiratory rate
Implementing a cold shower into your evening routine does not sound that comforting, and it probably will not be. But the positive effects are worth it in the long-run. I personally like to take the cold shower before I start my evening routine, because the cold shower increases alertness and it makes me feel energized to finish the day off strong.
Just take your regular shower and then crank up the coldness the last 30-60 seconds. Build it up slowly. Make it a habit. Oh, and ps: it will challenge your willpower like no other. If you can overcome the flinch and do it, it will also have a great positive effect on your overall willpower in the long-run.
5. Go out for some fresh air
Nowadays we, as a species, are way more inside than outside. If you add our (usually) long and chaotic days to that, it can be draining on your body and mind. That is why is it a wise thing to implement an evening walk into your evening routine.
An evening walk has many benefits. It reduces stress and keeps depression away. Besides that, it also aids your digestion, boosts your immune system and lowers your blood pressure. Those benefits are amazing to experience at the end of the day. It is a great reset for your body and mind and it will surely help you sleep better as well. So, take that evening walk!
6. Blue lights
The television, your laptop or your phone. They have great benefits, but great downsides as well. One of them is that they radiate blue light in an intense way. Why is that bad?
Well, when it gets darker outside it is in our natural biology that our body and mind start to wind down. Your brain starts releasing chemicals that will aid this process. Eventually, leading to sleep. But that only happens if your brain experiences your environment becoming darker.
When you are watching tv or scrolling on your phone, the blue light tells your brain it is not time to sleep yet. When you shut off your device(s) and go to bed, it still takes your brain quite some time to release the chemicals. This can result in a long delay before you fall asleep. It can also result into a less deep sleep, especially early in the night.
Make it a routine to shut off your devices at least 1 hour before bedtime. Use the time to shower, read or write for example. Take time to connect with your spouse. It is also a wise thing to install a ‘Blue Light Filter’. There are lots of programs/apps that turn the blue light of your device into a more orange light. A great example is the free program Flux.
A nice follow-up on what I mentioned in the tip above: read. Reading in the evening is a great replacement to screens (blue lights), with many other benefits as well. Make it a routine to grab a book before you go to bed.
Fun fact: during your sleep your brain processes the information you have gathered throughout the day. Sleep strengthens connections between brain cells and transfers information from one brain region to another. Reading before you sleep you can be a great way to use that process to your advantage.
If you want to read more, you can check out my way of reading a book a week.
8. Reflect on today
Point 8 and 9 are somewhat similar, and I would recommend you take out a journal (or digital note-app) for both.
Reflecting on today is one of the best tools to set yourself up for a better tomorrow. By reflecting you look at yourself in a critical way. The best way to do this is to ask questions to yourself. Benjamin Franklin always asked himself the same two questions:
In the morning: ‘What good shall I do today?’
In the evening: ‘What good have I done today?
Make it a habit to reflect on your day, that way you can plan out a better tomorrow and execute on it.
9. Plan out tomorrow
As I mentioned above, are point 8 and point 9 pretty similar in the way that they work. Planning out tomorrow is the best way to set yourself up for a good day. My definition of a good day is a day that is better than the day before. Only if it is 1% better, it is still a great win. If you improve 1% every day, your life will change a lot.
James Clear illustrated this in his book Atomic Habits
So, take your journal (or digital note-app) out again. Plan out tomorrow. What are you going to do and when are you going to do it? What disciplines and actions are you going to execute on? And keep your reflections of today also in mind whilst planning your tomorrow.
Set yourself up for success with tiny, incremental gains. Each and every day. 1% at a time.
10. Enjoy some well-earned relaxation
Enjoy some WELL-EARNED relaxation. See what I did there? I emphasized WELL-EARNED. For me, there is nothing sweeter than enjoying well-earned relaxation. It is so much better than regular relaxation. After grinding all day, and a part of my evening, it just feels so amazing to sit back and relax.
How to create an evening routine and stick to it
Those were 10 actions you can implement into your evening routine. Of course, it is not a wise thing to implement all 10 of them. When you read all 10 actions there were probably a few which fitted more into your current or desired lifestyle than others. Implement them!
The best way to go about this, is to make the action(s) a habit by starting small. If you choose to work on your personal goals for example, it is best to start out with 15 minutes every evening. Do that for a few weeks. Make it a habit. Once it is a habit, you can increase the time you put into each habit.
If you want to learn more about creating habits, I highly advice you check out my review of the book Atomic Habits, by James Clear.
If you want to learn more about morning routines, instead of evening routines, you can check out my blog about The Ten Commandments Of Waking Up Early.